Student: "I'd like to buy a lesson package and book you for 10 days straight,"
My response: "Absolutely not."
During a 60-minute golf lesson, I spend time talking to my students and coaching them through various elements of their game. It is very personalized and I do my best to share concepts in a manner that they can duplicate when they are practicing at home or at the driving range in between lessons.
Practice is fundamental for any golfer and very important if you are a beginner or trying to improve some aspect of your overall game. So when a student requests lessons with me on a daily basis, I have to ask when exactly are they going to practice what they just learned. I firmly believe that my students learn the most when they practice and I have seen evidence of that when I receive the texts during the week about their progress or their struggles.
While it is easy for me to sell the package and book the lessons, I prefer for my students to grow as a golfer and practice before their next lesson.
If you have been playing golf for awhile or are just getting started; be sure to familiarize yourself with the changes that become effective January 1, 2019. I have attached the Summary Chart of major rule changes that was published by the United States Golf Association (USGA) below or if you prefer you can watch video tutorials on their YouTube page by clicking here.
In April, I received a text from one of my students asking if I would be willing to teach a 9-year old boy with down syndrome. I did not hesitate one bit. I was actually honored that she thought of me.
She later explained that she used golf as a way to encourage him to complete assignments by promising that he could watch a putting video when it was completed. He especially loves watching Rickie Fowler play. Clearly, he has a love for golf and that's something I cannot teach. When she told me that he enjoyed throwing the basketball in the hoop and was successful most of the time, I knew he had the ability to learn the range of motion needed to develop his swing.
Within two weeks, Mom had called me and we were ready for the first lesson. He was more interested in putting than developing a swing so that is where we started. My priority in the first lesson was to get to know him and for him to get to know me. If he did not feel comfortable with me or was not enjoying the time, he would not want to return.
Three months later, our lessons start at the tee, followed by fairway practice then his favorite putting and we usually end up practicing bunker shots. I have so much fun with him. He makes me laugh and I am truly humbled by his progress as a player.
If you have read the tag-line on my home page; you are aware that it says, "No matter your age or ability Beaver Golf Lessons is committed to helping you enjoy golf." This is not just a marketing gimmick for me, it is why I teach. I have a love for the game that I want to share with anyone who has a desire to play. Just this past week, I was privileged to see one of my students realize that they could be playing golf again very soon.
Four years ago, he was essentially paralyzed after a stroke and unable to play golf. When he gained mobility in his right arm he decided to pursue disabled golf instruction through a reputable organization but he was not happy with the results. Then in March, his sister mentioned his situation to me during one of our lessons and I suggested he join her for a group lesson. After observing him attempt a few drills, I made the decision to teach him a one-handed golf swing because his left arm was incapable of movement.
Hand rotation is critical to a successful golf swing and he was physically unable to rotate his left wrist. Developing a one-handed swing offered him a new way to play golf that would focus on his strengths. It was not easy, but he was determined to learn and he practiced during the week.
It has been almost 2 months since we started and he is starting to own his swing. He even feels like he could be a better golfer with one arm than he was with two. Nothing is impossible when you have heart. I am honored to be apart of his journey.
If you follow golf you may know that Patrick Reed won the Masters Tournament earlier this month but the real highlight at Augusta National was the Drive Chip and Putt Championship. Junior golfers had an opportunity to compete in three skill areas and it was inspiring to see talent at such a young age. As a result, one of my students expressed interest in registering to participate in this year's qualifiers.
Whenever I receive inquiries like this I am very cautious because I want to be sure that it is truly the student who shares this desire. Too often the student is placed in a position to live out the dreams of the parent and quite honestly coaching a student who is working towards their parents' goals is not fun. When a student enjoys golf, they look forward to the lessons and they are excited to practice even if they are only in the backyard doing drills. This is important because preparing for a competition like the Drive, Chip and Putt will take a considerable amount of discipline and focus.
In this case, I know competition was not even on Mom's radar. He simply got swept up in all of the promotions for the event and when he watched the Championship on television, he thought I can do that. If he wants to try, I am all for helping him attain that goal. Anything is possible. He would be competing as a 7-9 year old, giving him plenty of time to make it to Augusta National before he turns 16.